The new port at Kuznica is now nearly ready. It is much bigger than the old one with a marina, some new wharves and piers and, unfortunately, a new, much bigger and lacking the originality of the old one, metal cross. I am not sure if the old cross has been kept but we couldn't see it anywhere. The port is now much more convenient for boats and can be a nice place for walks into the bay as long as you mind the children as there are no barriers in many places. The marina welcomes yachts and sailing boats and some new eateries have opened on the side of the bay.
The fishing harbour at Kuznica is not big but it is really used a lot, with quite a few local people earning their living in this way. You can often see them there doing repairs to their boats or nets or just chatting. The cross at the end of the port, with a rope around it and just a carved face of Christ on it must have been erected there to guard the fishermen and bring them back home safely. It is from here that on the day of St Peter and Paul, the patrons of all fishermen, a boat pilgrimage sets off for Puck on the other side of the bay.
Update: There is now a new port at Kuznica, which I am going to write about in another tip, and a new metal cross there but I have decided to leave the information for those who might be interested in how the place has changed in the last couple of years.
Kuznica is a small fishing village situated where the peninsula becomes extremely narrow - only just over 200 metres at places. Because of the danger of the place being flooded over, particularly during the winter storms, everything is being done to protect the beaches. Sand is transported from the bay to the coast on the other side and blocks of reinforced concrete have been placed on the beach at the most endangered places, thus making the beach less attractive. But just beyond Kuznica there are great sandy beaches again and that part of the peninsula has the most interesting woodland overgrowing the dunes.
2007 update: The works seem to be over, for the time being anyway. Kuznica now has beaches stretching all the way along the coastline, the blocks of concrete having been removed, and the former dirt road along the coast is still there commanding great views of the sea and the beaches. You no longer have to reach the end of the village to enter the beach, there are entrances every one or two hundred metres. And benches have been put at the top of the 'cliff' so you can admire the sea and watch the fishermen set off on or return from their fishing trips from them. A great improvement. No wonder we saw more tourists there this year.
It wasn't until 2008 that we realised that Kuznica, and the Hel Peninsula in general is a great place for birdwatchers. We were walking along the coastal path when we saw this young man with a pair of binoculars and a telescope on a tripod. He also had an encyclopaedia of birds and kept consulting it from time to time. He turned out to be a member of a team of ornithologists from Gdansk University and the Polish Academy of Sciences, who were camping in the forest between Kuznica and Chalupy watching bird migrations and catching the birds in their nets in order to ring them. We were invited to visit them there and we did a year later, but couldn't see any of the birds. If you happen to be there between April and end of May, do go and see them and the birds and listen to their stories. They come there every year.
It was nearby that last September we watched a mass of long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) appearing from behind the forest and flying very low to reach the sea, making a lot of noise as they did so. They appeared too suddenly for us to take pictures but it was an unforgettable sight.
Traditional though it looks, the building in the picture appeared at Kuznica sometime during 2005. Not yet used, it will soon house the new Tourist Information Centre and some other amenities, including an Internet cafe. I think the architect has done a marvellous job, imitating the style of houses originally to be found in the area, with the watch tower and the timber beams.
April 2008 update: The Tourist Information and the Internet cafe (free internet!) are working, between 7.30 and 3.30 all the year round, and in the summer even longer. There is also an area of free wireless internet there so you can bring your own laptop if you don't want to queue for the computers in the high season. Kuznica has changed enormously too since last year with new beaches, benches and a brand new promenade along the bay. I think next time we go to the peninsula we'll choose Kuznica rather than Chalupy.
The interesting red-brick shrine in the main street of Kuznica is dedicated to St Anthony and was erected to commemorate the flooding of the village by the sea waves in the years 1872, 1874, 1879, 1902 and 1914. The Hel Peninsula is extremely narrow here so floodings were common. In the period between the two World Wars the shrine bells would warn the villagers of the coming danger.
The new promenade at Kuznica was also built partly from the EU funds. The old uneven dirt road has been turned into an elegant alleyway running parallel to the bay and the cycle track and offering beautiful views of the water and the fishing port. There are two or three benches from which you can watch the boats or admire the sunsets but I hope they plant some trees or shrubs too to make the walk more pleasant. Unfortunately, not many plants want to grow on sand. The promenade starts at one end of the village near the restaurant 'Dawid', passes the fishing port and ends at the new pier but you can walk on on the cycle track, especially off season. It's perfectly even and therefore accessible to wheelchair users.
The new boat harbour at Kuznica was built partly from EU funds. A low floating pier is added in the summer to the permanent one to let the boats call in. By the pier you can hire boats, water-bikes, kayaks but again only in the high season. The pier is a great place to watch sunsets or the birds on the bay. Thanks to it, the village has turned into a pleasant resort. I hope it doesn't become too crowded soon.
Kuznica has beaches running from Chalupy up to about the middle of the village, where the man-made high coast starts, its aim being to protect the village from the winter storms. Then, just past the last part of the village, called Siberia, a new stretch of the beaches starts and goes as far as Jurata, with quite high dunes at places. So Kuznica is no less attractive than the other places on the peninsula, and yet it is not so frequented by the tourists, who probably miss the souvenir shops or all kinds of eateries present elsewhere. If you don't care for those and love plenty of space on the beach, it's just the place for you.
2007 update: We went to Kuznica again this year and, to our great surprise, saw beautiful spacious beaches stretching all the way along the village, the concrete supports being no longer there, only fine yellow-white sand, lovely! So this is what all the vessels we saw there over the years were doing, pumping the sand onto the beach. The result is just great and there is even a new harbour for fishing boats on the beach.
The first Catholic church at Kuznica was built in 1933. Until then the people of Kuznica had to travel to Jastarnia to attend Mass. The new church was designed in the neo-Gothic style after the famous sanctuary at nearby Swarzewo and dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. Inside there are nine stained-glass windows and some beautiful frescoes, including one of Christ preaching from a boat. The first parish-priest of Kuznica, the Rev. Franciszek Ksawery Szynalewski died a tragic death, shot by the Nazis in 1939.